No, this is not my pet peeves. These are the feelings I have when I realize that I have so much and others have so little. Do I think I am better? No, and I may not have what some others have in the way of fine homes or personal possessions.
Then, why the frustration? It’s because what I have is very sharable and I have not the means to give it away. I could give away my savings and then I would be broke and very few would have benefited. I really only have a home to live in and some very modest retirement income.
Everything I have; things, security, peace of mind, and experiences with saints and sinners have been a gift to me.
In my middle life I was unemployed, in debt, and watching my family crumble before my eyes. Like the prodigal son, I had slept with the pigs and would have given anything to be safe back in my father’s house.
I was preserved from fatal disease, nurtured by new friends, and met a loving mate and companion that was perfect for me. I was able to clean up my act, clean my soiled linen, and move into the society of the most wonderful human beings on the planet. Everything I touched turned to gold. I gained a new son and have had more joy with this new family than I had with the previous.
It was a gift to me and I pray and give thanks that I will always remember that it was a gift.
The frustration is that there are times when I am touched in my heart by the light of someone’s testimony in Church or a remarkable act by one to another and I wish I could share that feeling, knowledge, and experience with someone I know who could benefit from it. For that matter, I wish I could share it with someone I don’t know but who could benefit.
Not everyone wants to know about the shortcut you discovered. They prefer the old familiar way that gets them where they want to go. Some people don’t want to go to new places, they prefer the familiar to the unknown.
It’s my nature to want to try new things, go to new places, and yet it is important to set limits to control the risks. I have learned about life in a very uneconomic way. I suffered losses before I discovered the value of what I was risking. I had to start over many times. I fell when I learned to skate and ski. I was thankful to find others who could help me to avoid the pain.
I can see when my own children are about to make a mistake or cannot overcome a fatal flaw in their character. I can warn them, but if they are unwilling to heed my warning, then they will pay the price. And if they never get it, they will pay again and again.
I have a daughter that is totally addicted to cigarettes. She has serious health problems that are not at all helped by her addiction, in fact, I am sure that they have contributed mightily to her condition. She has become impoverished and disabled and has very meager means, but she can still purchase the drugs that are killing her. Nicotine withdrawal is so severe that she must be hospitalized if she quits.
I firmly believe that she knows enough about the workings of faith and redemption to rely on a higher source of power than her own will.
But, she won’t. She is not ready to do that.
There are people who feel they have been wronged. They feel they have been the victim. The sad thing about this is that the victimizer may not even know the condition exists and may be living a stress free life. As long as the victim blames the victimizer there is pain and dissatisfaction for the victim. By letting go and forgiving the offender, the victim is freed from the turmoil of hate and accusation. The desire for revenge is actually more hurtful and prolongs altercations. Revenge is not a solution to these problems.
Do we have a perfect example of how that works in Palestine and Israel? Given the investment in revenge and distrust can the current conditions ever be reversed? I doubt it. Neither party is a subscriber to the teachings of Jesus and they apparently cannot even conceive the peaceful solution on logic alone.
I mentioned the wonderful people I have been blessed to know. There are two families here in Boise, the Marti and Cazier families, who are the parents of a young couple with a five-month-old daughter, Sage. They had done everything right. The husband had served a mission in a foreign country for the Church. They were married in the Boise Temple.
Shawn, the husband, was a musically talented young man who was popular and volunteered his time to promote other young musicians. On the way home from a local high school play, they met a drunk driver in a pickup truck at a closing speed of over 160 miles per hour in a head on collision that instantly killed the passenger of the pickup truck, Shawn, and the baby daughter, Sage, leaving the wife, Natalie in a coma that would continue for one month. The truck driver lost his hand in the accident.
The families were well known and the funeral for Shawn and Sage was attended by thousands.
The first order of business was for the two families to make a visit to the family of the driver of the truck to make sure they had no needs and to assure them that they had no animosity to them and had forgiven the driver. The State of Idaho, however, held him on $250,000 bail until the first court date when the driver pled guilty to two counts of manslaughter and DUI.
The next order of business was to bury the young father and his infant daughter together in the same grave.
Just like April Aaron forgave the man who gouged out her eye, the immediate effort to forgive gave everyone the advantage of getting on with life.
When Natalie came out of her coma she began to develop her short term memory and learned of the loss of her husband and daughter her comment was, “Well, I guess the Lord has something else in mind for me now.”
I’m not saying there wasn’t grieving, there was, but there was no acrimony or hate. Many people were also touched in a positive way and many were taught a lesson about forgiveness.
I was one of them. I had written a letter to the editor of the Idaho Statesman urging the legislature to raise the liquor tax to cover the education shortfall in the budget. They had refused on previous occasions, but finally raised the liquor, tobacco, and sales tax to meet the budget. I cannot help but think that the thought of Shawn and Sage might have influenced the vote somehow.
Natalie has fully recovered from the accident and has no physical or mental disabilities and is getting on with her life, a truly remarkable miracle, considering the depth and duration of her coma.
As much as I would like to reach out and touch others with the precious things I have now, I realize that I still have a big job to do at home.
This morning, driving my son Sam to school he shouted out, “That’s him, that’s the man who ran over my dog. Speed up Dad, get him!”
If I can only teach him the
miracle of forgiveness, I will be a success.